The vast majority of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities have been among the nation’s older population and those who suffered from other illnesses, according to national health institute Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS).
Health authority data shows nearly 96% of COVID-19 deaths were patients with preexisting medical conditions and the average age of victims was around 80 years old.
In a news conference on Friday, ISS chief Silvio Brusaferro stated, “The latest numbers show that new cases and fatalities have a common profile: mostly elderly people with previous illnesses.”
In the most recent weekly study released by ISS, nearly 60% of fatalities suffered from at least three preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Only 4.1% of victims recorded no prior illnesses.
Italy, which was the first European epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, has now reported more than 32,000 deaths and over 230,000 cases.
The country is now emerging from its strict lockdown. May 18 saw most bars, restaurants and shops reopening and travel within regions permitted.
On June 3, Italy hopes to allow free movement around the country and open borders with some European countries.
However, authorities and health officials are warning that the reopening will be delayed if social distancing rules continue to be flouted and masks not worn in public.
Several cities have seen bars and squares filled with crowds drinking in the evening and not respecting the continued restrictions. Authorities have warned that despite young people being less affected by the virus, they must still abide by social distancing rules to avoid a second wave of coronavirus hitting the country.